The 2013 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund campaign is now underway, a time when we ask our readers to turn their thoughts to supporting local nonprofit agencies and services that care for those in need year round.
It's also a timely effort with many nonprofits still faced with diminished contributions as a result of the waning recession while needing increased funds to meet a growing number of those in need.
"Given all of the uncertainties we've seen in recent months, from continued troubling unemployment to an unsettling government shutdown to likely soaring rate increases for those who have health care plans, these are the times the Holiday Fund and those agencies we serve most need your contributions," said Gina Channell-Allen, president and publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly.
Contributions to the 2013 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund will be distributed in two tiers, with 75% of all dollars raised going to Axis Community Health, Open Heart Kitchen, Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, Valley Humane Society and ValleyCare Health System.
Another 25% of the contributions will go to Hope Hospice, the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, REACH, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies and Senior Support Services of the Tri-Valley.
Again this year, the Weekly is partnering with Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), which will handle all finances related to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund. This will allow donors to take advantage of a tax deduction for the dollars they contribute through the Foundation's 501(c)(3) status to the fullest extent of the law.
The foundation, headquartered in Mountain View, is no stranger to Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley. In recent years, the community foundation and its donors have awarded grants to Amador Valley and Horizon high schools, Axis Community Health, PPIE, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies, Tri-Valley Animal Rescue and the Valley Humane Society.
"We welcome the opportunity to join again with Silicon Valley Community Foundation as part of our 2013 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund," Channell-Allen said. "At the Weekly, we know what the needs are locally because of our expertise in covering these nonprofits in our news columns."
Also, the Pleasanton Weekly will handle all costs of the campaign. That means that every dollar will go directly to the 10 nonprofits with no administrative expenses.
Last year, when the state of the economy was perhaps even more dire, Pleasanton Weekly readers rallied to the call and contributed more than $75,000 in direct donations to the Holiday Fund.
Beneficiaries of contributions made to the Pleasanton Weekly 2013 Holiday Fund will be:
Axis Community Health
Among this year's recipients in the Tier One group is Axis Community Health, the Tri-Valley's sole provider of medical care for the area's neediest families who do not have health insurance. Last year, 14,000 Tri-Valley residents depended on Axis for services, including over 38,000 medical visits. More than 2,000 of those visits, at a cost of nearly $600,000, were not covered by any public insurance source.
"In the coming year, Axis Community Health will again need funds to cover costs for uncompensated health care visits," said Valerie Jonas, chief development officer. "We rely on contributions like those from the Holiday Fund to make it possible for us to take care of the many people in our community who struggle to make ends meet."
Open Heart Kitchen
Open Heart Kitchen is another Tri-Valley charity that is again on the Holiday Fund list for 2013. It expects to serve more than 200,000 meals in its current fiscal year, according to Linda McKeever, executive director. Open Heart, which serves meals in Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore, has seen a 25% increase in demand for free meals, far greater than the pace of donations directly to the organization.
Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation
Also in line for Holiday Fund help this year is Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, an organization that has a collaborative relationship with the Pleasanton Unified School District and contributes to the needs of Pleasanton students and educators, while also partnering with the business community.
Founded in 1985, its goal is to raise funds in order to protect programs threatened by state budget cuts, relying on the generous support of the extended community, including the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, to help schools maintain excellence by meeting classroom needs unfunded by other means.
Valley Humane Society
Also receiving financial assistance this year from the Holiday Fund is the Valley Humane Society, an all-volunteer group that rescues, treats and finds homes for abandoned or injured animals. It does not euthanize unless health problems dictate. Its mission also includes educating others on responsible pet ownership. While donations primarily support animal rescue, VHS also provides assistance to people.
"Low income families receive help caring for their own pets, the soothing support of therapy dogs is offered to those who need healing and young people have many opportunities to experience the powerful difference they can make while learning a love of animals," said Melissa Adkins, marketing and development manager.
ValleyCare Health System
Since 1961, ValleyCare Health System has provided not-for-profit health care to the Tri-Valley and surrounding communities, expanding and adding services as the needs of the community have grown. Its highly skilled physicians, nurses and staff, combined with state-of-the-art technologies, allow ValleyCare to provide comprehensive health care.
ValleyCare is a nonprofit institution dependent on fees, grants and public contributions, including community assistance, such as contributions from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, ValleyCare has expanded to include new and remodeled buildings in Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin.
"This year's contributions from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund will go towards our Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program, The Women In Need Fund and breast cancer education," said Denise Bouillerce, director of ValleyCare's Marketing/Public Relations and Charitable Foundation.
"Cancer touches each of us in some way and with one in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the U.S., we are targeting funds toward our Breast Cancer Program at ValleyCare," she added.
"As a not-for-profit health system, any donations given to ValleyCare assist us in providing these specialized health services to people right here in our community. "We are grateful to all who give so generously."
Beneficiaries of the Holiday Fund in the second tier, which will receive 25% of the contributions made this year, include Hope Hospice, a Dublin-based organization that serves patients and families in Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, Alamo, Blackhawk, Castro Valley, Diablo, Danville, San Ramon, Sunol and surrounding communities in the East Bay.
The organization is known throughout the Valley for the special kind of healthcare it offers. It's unique because it works to not only meet a dying patient's physical needs, but supports the emotional, social and spiritual needs of the surviving family as well. Hope Hospice care is provided regardless of the ability to pay and relies on contributions such as those raised by the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund to provide services.
Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council
During the recent recession, the arts were the first to suffer, which is why the Pleasanton Weekly has chosen the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council as a second tier beneficiary of its 2013 Holiday Fund. For more than 35 years, the PCAC has supported the visual, literary and performing arts and arts facilities in Pleasanton, reaching thousands of school-age children with arts education programs, scholarships and funding concert bands in the elementary and high schools.
Also slated to receive funds in this year's Holiday Fund campaign is REACH, an acronym for Resources Education Activities Community and Housing for special adults of the Tri-Valley. Established in 1990 by a group of concerned family members of developmentally disabled who wanted their loved ones to be able to live locally, the group's goal is to provide safe, quality living environments where residents learn self efficiency and live with dignity and respect.
"Tri-Valley REACH is very pleased to be selected as a beneficiary of the 2013 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund," said Brian Gentry, who is a member of the REACH board of directors.
"Funds received from the Weekly's 2013 Holiday Fund will be used to support ongoing social and athletic programs that offer opportunities to the Special Needs community, and bring more joy to the lives of the developmentally challenged of the Tri-Valley," he added.
Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation
Again on the Holiday Fund's list of beneficiaries is the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation. Funds that go to this organization help provide cancer patients with the benefit of complementary therapies to help alleviate the side effects caused by radiation and chemotherapy. The group is supported entirely by generous donations, including those from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund.
Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley
Also benefiting from the Holiday Fund this year will be Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, an independent, nonprofit agency serving seniors over 60 in the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Sunol. The group was established in 1981 as a "Friendly Visitor" volunteer program serving 35 seniors. It has since grown to include programs that annually serve more than 1,600 seniors in the Tri-Valley area, along with providing about 5,000 information and referral calls and visits.
How to Donate
As the Holiday Fund is a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, please direct your donations to:
Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund
c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation
2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300
Mountain View, California 94040
Checks should be made payable to Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
There is also an opportunity to donate through PayPal online at www.siliconvalleycf.org/pleasantonweeklyholidayfund.
All donations will be acknowledged shortly after being received.